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Ekeowe Must be Punished for Demolishing Dame Jonathan’s Hotel, CWAI Insists

Citizen Watch Advocacy Initiative (CWAI), a pro-democracy civil society, and human rights group, had condemned the demolition of a segment of the hotel premises owned by the former First Lady of Nigeria, Mrs. Dame Patience Jonathan, by Mr. Alabo Gideon Ekeowe, head of the Bayelsa State Physical Planning and Development Board (BSPPDB) on Friday, 25th February, 2022.

The hotel, Aridolf Resort Wellness and Spa, was bulldozed without following due procedure, guideline and rule of law.
Even the governor of the state, Mr. Douye Diri, was kept in the dark about the illegal demolition.

In a statement the Executive Secretary of CWAI, Omoba Kenneth Aigbegbele, lambasted the head of BSPPDP, Alabo Ekeowe, a former Secretary to the State Government and head of the Bayelsa State department that demolished a section of the well-known hotel premises.

The hotel, according to the statement, has catered for both the upper echelon of the state and middle class, even playing host as rich cultural centre of the state during major Bayelsa State government functions.

Mr Ekeowe and his demolition team did not resort to the pending processes before the Bayelsa State High Court between the management of the hotel and the Bayelsa State Police, but took matters into their hands by demolishing the 5-Star hotel.

The state government knew full well that as a former Mother of the Nation, Mrs. Jonathan had paved way for the development of the state by developing the first class resort and hospitality organization in the state, Aigbelegbe said.

“The audacity and temerity to demolish the hotel and indirectly injure the reputation of the former president of Nigeria, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, who had remained a stabilizing factor not only in Nigeria but Africa, and also instrumental to the development of the Niger Delta region, are outstandingly shocking,” CWAI said.

“We, therefore, call on Mr. Ekeowe to stop forthwith his illegal action, obey constituted authority and show respect for Jonathan’s family and for elders generally as envisioned in the present government of Mr. Douye Diri, who sees the former president as his father and mentor.

CWAI said that as such Mr. Ekeowe should be disciplined to serve as a deterrent to others, who do not have respect for elders and statesmen.
The statement also said that this misdemeanor and lawlessness cannot be tolerated in the northern Nigeria or any other state for that matter, and asked, “why should it happen in Bayelsa State?”

CWAI stated categorically that “it is an outright abuse of rule of law and it debases our culture of respect for elders, constituted authority and those that have mentored men across the geo-political zones of Nigeria.

“Ex-President Jonathan has remained and still remains a political factor in this country and such a mere head of a department in his own state should not cast aspersion on his family’s hard earned reputation.

“We make bold to say, that the present governor, Mr. Diri, was not aware of this injurious act displayed by Mr. Ekeowe and therefore, should be reprimanded, suspended and possibly more severely disciplined to serve as an example to all, who are hell bent to malign the former president of the country and his family.”

CWAI emphasized that though a letter has been written by the former First Lady to the Nigeria Police in Bayelsa State on Gideon Ekeowe’s action as a “violation of court processes and abuse of office” as the demolition did not follow proper channels and communication, especially when all parties to the issue at stake are already in court.

CWAI therefore, wants Ekeowe arrested and prosecuted for the illegal demolition of her Excellency’s property.
“In addition, we demand the immediate suspension of Mr. Gideon Ekeowe from the Bayelsa State Government.

“Also, an immediate apology from the Douye Diri -led Bayelsa State administration, is not out of place for the harm, dishonour and emotional trauma caused the former First Family, as it unheard of in the history of Nigeria, that the property of a former First Lady was illegally destroyed by a sitting departmental head.

“We, therefore, ask that the building be restored to its original master plan by the Bayelsa State Government,” Omoba Aigbelegbe said.

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